Back to IndieWire

James Franco and Anne Hathaway To Host Oscars: A Brief Rant

James Franco and Anne Hathaway To Host Oscars: A Brief Rant

While I was flying somewhere over upstate New York, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced that Anne Hathaway and James Franco will be hosting the Oscars. I must say that when I landed and saw 10 alerts about the news pop up on my phone, it was the kind of news that made me very briefly wonder if I was dreaming. Had you asked me yesterday to throw out 100 names of people most likely to host the Oscars, I doubt Franco (and let’s be honest… this is going to turn into his phd thesis or some sort of art project, right?) or Hathaway would have been on that list. Previous hosts like Ellen deGeneres, Chris Rock and Jon Stewart definitely would have been. As would have folks like Tina Fey (tag teaming her with Alec Baldwin or Amy Poehler would have been amazing), Stephen Colbert (perhaps tag teamed with Stewart but this might have been a bit too left-wing politics for Oscar), Conan O’Brien, Neil Patrick Harris, etc, etc.. While one can only assume the majority of those turned down an offer (like Hugh Jackman), the direction the Academy headed as a resulted is not one I (or anyone) saw coming. It’s actually downright unparalleled in the history of Oscar hosting. The youngest hosts ever, both not comedians, and both potential nominees (though Franco is certainly the only one that’s going to achieve that potential in the end).

I’ll give the decision this: It’s not a boring a decision by any means, and it has me very curious. Both Hathaway and Franco have this clear classic Hollywood-meets new Hollywood vibe going for them, and they’ll both definitely rally gays young and old (which is important, though then again… gays young and old will watch the Oscars no matter who is hosting)… So I see what the Academy might have had in mind in making this decision. But in the end, I just question whether it’s actually a good decision. Don’t get me wrong: I am a considerable fan of both Franco and Hathaway. I find them both consistently charming, and Saturday Night Live has made it clear both can be funny and both can handle the pressure of a live event. But the Oscars??? It just feels like a premature moment for their careers. I also have never associated one with the other, which makes the decision to pair them sort of random and without any association that predates it. And finally, I guess I’m just a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to hosting gig, but I am one that is usually most pleased with the classic Billy-Whoopi-Steve-Ellen-Chris-Jon route of going with a major comedian who gives us a killer monologue and then pops up with sharp observational humor for the rest of the night. This just feels like such an out there way to go… And one that could easily blow up in everyone’s faces: The Academy, the hosts themselves, and everyone who looks forward to the Oscars. I’m not saying it couldn’t work, but the Oscar producers (and Anne and James) are going to have be very careful…

This Article is related to: Uncategorized and tagged